Grandmasters Yuri Solodovnichenko of Ukraine and Vladimir Belous of Russia shared the lead with 7.5 points after the ninth and penultimate round of the 8th Chennai Open International Grandmaster Chess tournament here today.
Four players—Mikhail Mozharov (Russia), Marat Dzhumaev (Uzbekistan), Boris Grachev (Russia) and Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi (India) -- closed in on the leaders at 7.0 points.
Earlier, 15-year-old Bihar lad Gaurav Kumar did himself and country proud, snatching the first norm of the event. Holding International Master Ramnath Bhuvanesh to a draw, Kumar made his maiden International Master Norm scoring 6.0 points from nine rounds.
Going into the final round, three players are holding norm chances. They are Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi (GM Norm), V S Rathanvel and Arjun Erigaisi (both IM Norm). All three need to win their final round game to achieve the subject norm.
Vijayalakshmi faces GM Mikhail Mozharov of Russia and Rathanvel takes on GM Nguyen Duc Hoa of Vietnam, while Arjun Erigaisi squares off against fellow Indian International Master N R Visakh.
In a day of twin upsets, Vijayalakshmi scored over GM Anton Demchenko of Russia while International Master Ramanathan Balasubramaniam defeated GM Czebe Attila of Hungary.
The exciting final round is scheduled for tomorrow, with cash prizes worth Rs. 1100000 waiting to be won.
Round 9 Results (Indians unless specified) Mikhail Mozharov (Rus) 7 drew with Yuri Solodovnichenko (Ukr) 7.5, Deepan Chakkravarthy J (6.5) lost to Vladimir Belous (Rus) 7.5, Boris Grachev (Rus) 7 bt Vitaliy Bernadskiy (Ukr) 6, Marat Dzhumaev (Uzb) 7 bt Ivan Popov (Rus) 6, Ernst Sipke (Ned) 6.5 drew with David Alberto (Ita) 6.5, Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman (7) bt Anton Demchenko (Rus) 6, Vitaly Sivuk (Ukr) 6.5 bt V S Rathanvel (6), Adam Tukhaev (Ukr) 6.5 bt Akash Thakur (5.5), Artur Gabrielian (Rus) 6.5 bt S V Srinath Rao (5.5), Valeriy Neverov (Ukr) 6.5 A L Muthaiah (5.5), Czebe Attila (Hun) 5.5 lost to Ramanathan Balasubramaniam (6.5).